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A widening chasm

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In 2001, I was a sophomore at the University of Virginia, an international student from Pakistan studying foreign affairs with the lofty earnestness only a college kid could have. On the morning of September 11, I was jarred awake by the sound of my phone ringing. My friend ordered me to get out of bed and turn on the news. Confused and half-awake, I flipped on my television just as the second plane flew into the World Trade Center in New York City. I watched, shell-shocked, as news agencies replayed the footage of buildings collapsing, of people crying and running, of billowing smoke and scattered debris.

I remember that morning vividly because it was the day the world changed, when the narrative shifted. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 ultimately cast the world in a harsh and polarizing light, as countries and their citizens were placed on either side of an arbitrarily imposed line, the not-so-cleverly dubbed “Axis of Evil.” As a Pakistani Muslim student in the United States, the nuances of my identity were suddenly a topic of conversation, a far cry from the generic “Asian/Pacific Islander” box I checked on my college application just two years earlier.

Nine years after the September 11 attacks, those same issues – of Islam’s place in America, of the perceived clash between the West and the “Muslim World” – are not only still part of the conversation, they have become intensified. On the recent cover of TIME magazine, the media outlet asked the question, “Is America Islamophobic?” A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in August 2010 found that 38 per cent of Americans polled said they had an unfavorable view of Islam, with most saying they know “very little” about the religion. According to Pew, favorable opinions of Islam have declined since 2005.

Given these numbers and the increasing perception of Islamophobia in America, how much of these attitudes can be traced back to the 9/11 attacks in 2001? According to Peter Mandaville, professor of Government and Islamic Studies at George Mason University and author of Global Political Islam, what we are seeing now is not an unprecedented moment and many of these issues “have been lurking beneath the surface for some time, arguably even before the 9/11 attacks.” However, he noted, “there have been a number of events and notable moments that have brought this under-the-surface phenomenon into the open, with high degrees of intensity.”

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, professor and Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, D.C., echoed, “After 9/11, we saw a gap open wide between Muslims and non-Muslims, and even though many of us worked hard to close that gap through interfaith dialogue and understanding, all that was needed was a catalyst to reignite these tensions.” Some of these catalytic events include the debate over Park 51, the dubbed “Ground Zero Mosque” in New York City and, most recently, the proposed “Burn a Quran Day” by a pastor in Florida, two issues widely covered by the American news media.

While some have called these events isolated incidents not representative of a wider phenomenon, Ahmed says this is a misconception, noting that the suspicion and distrust of Muslims have been occurring for the last several years. In his recently released book, Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam, the most comprehensive anthropological study ever done of Muslims in America, Ahmed and his team visited over 100 mosques throughout the United States, analyzing the American Muslim experience, as well as attitudes towards this community. On the journey, they reported a number of incidents of mosques that had been attacked or vandalized, and noted an atmosphere of constant tension that has existed since 2001.

Islam, particularly after the 9/11 attacks, is often vilified as the “other,” and this lack of understanding has been exacerbated in recent years, not only by events in the United States, but also by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, by perceptions of Pakistan as “the most dangerous nation in the world,” by militant and terrorist threats, and the burqa ban debate in Europe, to name a few. Moreover, as anti-American sentiment increases abroad as the result of US policies, so does this corresponding fear and mistrust of this perceived monolithic “Muslim World,” resulting in a heightened cycle of intolerance and fear.

According to both Mandaville and Ahmed, the failure of the Muslim leadership to explain the religion in the face of Islamist extremism is partly to blame. Mandaville noted, “Although there have been attempts by Muslim-Americans to rebrand the narrative, much of this messaging hasn’t hit the mainstream media. The public relations strategy therefore has to be reworked and become more comprehensive and strategic.” Muslim leaders must also ramp up their efforts at the interfaith level, working with Christian and Jewish leaders to emphasize that “Islam is not an other, it’s a firm component of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition.” Mandaville added, “Muslims have to also stop being apologetic. The fact that they have to legitimize their voice by renouncing terrorism before they’re even allowed to speak is a symptom of the overarching problem.”

It is September 11, 2010, and it seems we are exactly where we were nine years ago, a world divided by fear, misunderstanding, intolerance, and hatred. However, as we continue to debate the Islamophobia phenomenon in the West and the anti-American sentiment elsewhere, it is important to understand the root causes behind these issues and the role both sides play in exacerbating this vicious cycle. In an increasingly interconnected world, global issues can have local ramifications and vice versa. Understanding perceptions of Islam, as well as Pakistan, through the 9/11 lens is important in developing solutions and comprehensive strategies, so that we all can – finally – move forward.

kalsoomlakhani80
Kalsoom Lakhani is director for Social Vision, the strategic philanthropy arm of ML Resources, LLC. She blogs at CHUP: Changing Up Pakistan and tweets at twitter.com/kalsoom82.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.



The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


Comments (123) Closed



from UAE Oct 06, 2010 05:47pm
i dont know about saudia but here in uae many people bring and even display there religious pictures so plz dont say anything you dont know .there are places for christians and hindus to worship also although on small scales
chinu Sep 15, 2010 06:17am
There is too much hypocrisy and lack of true courage of self-introspection and self-criticism in the muslim world. Also there is a need to distinguish between the fundamentals and general principles mentioned in the Quran which needs some enlightened interpretation by people with a truly global understanding and respect for other religions. Till then Islamic states are going to be stuck in this quagmire. 'Ummah' is a social concept and should not be made a political concept. I donot think Muslims think they belong to a superior race. However many do think they believe in the only true religion because that is what they have been taught growing up.
aqib00 Sep 15, 2010 06:05am
1st read it.....every one just pass comments who they had read on other site who just wrote against the Holy Book.. U must 1st read than..Than you have the right to ask or pass any judgment about the Book.,,
sanjeev Sep 15, 2010 06:01am
@ atif thanx..atleast some people understand it..some of my indian friend following islam know this problem.. atleast some in pakistan also know..its heartening people like you need to come forward andassume leadreship of pakistan
sanjeev Sep 15, 2010 05:55am
taliban was true mulims... then what happened ?
sanjeev Sep 15, 2010 05:54am
@ saira did you so called moderates boycotted visits to such islamic countries who treat minororites as second class humans like saudi arabia ? the moderates like you just defend islam from the criticism by others and never stand up against maulvi's..
Sujay Sep 15, 2010 05:35am
mistrust and lack of understanding from both sides? Or from one side only?
anon Sep 15, 2010 05:35am
In the early days of Islam, like many other empires, there were no standing armies. In case of a war, the muslims were obliged to participate in it physically and financially, all non-muslims living in the muslim empire and benefiting from it were exempt from contributing physically, i.e they could not be drafted into military service, in turn however they had to contribute financially for this exemption. The jiziya was a very small amount, about 1 dirham, this was nothing compared to the security, prosperity and economic well being afforded at that time by the muslim empire, remember that for couple of centuries after the beginning of Islam, the lands under Islam were the most cultured, educated and stable compared with the european countries under going the dark ages at the time.
Vishal Sep 15, 2010 01:48am
The reason is clear. Muslims are intolerant and have double standards. When In majority, they want Sharia and when in minority, they want secularism.
Neel Sep 14, 2010 09:03pm
I totally agree with Saira here. You (or any Muslim in US or Europe) are absolutely justified in demanding equal rights for Muslims as per the constitution of that country. But Muslims (leaders) in other countries have no moral rights to take up issues such as Burqa ban. This is hypocrisy. An American Muslim has every right to protest against the 'Quran burning'. But on what moral grounds, crowds in Islamic nations protest against it? [while these countries have institutionalized non-muslim discrimination; a small & supposed to be moderate country like Maldives does not even allow to take small worshiping items like a picture of Shiva or religious book like Bhagwad Geeta.. these are promptly confiscated at Customs] And that is baffling.
Padmanabhan Sep 14, 2010 08:47pm
India has had several Muslims as head of state, A Chief of Air Staff, Ministers and Governors. The richest man in India is Muslim and Muslims have a corner Bollywood. Tell me where Muslims are 80% of the population(the proportion of Hindus in India) they could have a Muslim President a Sikh Prime Minister and a Roman Catholic President of India's ruling party(and its effective dictator) ?
Padmanabhan Sep 14, 2010 08:38pm
Saira: Granted that you do not rule Pakistan, but how often have Pakistanis(both native and of the diaspora) decried Shariah laws that condemn people to death for alleged crimes against Islam, that condemn non Muslims to death ? I do not see any condemnation of actions against non Muslim minorities rampant in the Muslim world.I guess that is what the writer means when she implies that actions mean more than words.
Samuel Sep 14, 2010 08:04pm
Dear Khurshid: You have said the sad truth ! Truth is always a bitter bill to swallow. Bravo! Samuel, Toronto, Canada
justmypoint Sep 14, 2010 07:32pm
Mr. XYZ my answer to ur question is I accept that there have been incidents of that sort in other countries by extremist but if u give some rank to all religious extremist unanimously Islamic extremist are undefeated .. we are here discussing how to solve such problems not to raise fingers .. BTW killing ppl is far gross then burning religious buildings .. PEACE OUT my brother ..!! :P
Sabah Sep 14, 2010 05:18pm
Innocent or guilty by which standard? Sharia Law?
Samuel Sep 14, 2010 03:05pm
The socalled MYTH is one of the oldest and still thriving religion, my friend and the Hindus are not in trouble overseas as Muslims. Samuel, Toronto, Canada.
Samuel Sep 14, 2010 02:58pm
Dear me: History tells us that the Persian emperors (Muslims) conquered parts of India, converted the population to Islam by sword, killed thousands who refused, demolished their temples and other places of worship, because they just could not comprehend Hindu way of life, as it was different from their own. Mohammad Ghazni was notorious for his atrocities. There was no Islam in India before this and we were thriving as a CIVILIZED country. So, the Hindus want their very important temple back. This is the fact of Babri Masjid, my friend. Samuel, Toronto, Canada.
Jas Sep 14, 2010 02:05pm
People like you validate non-muslims' perceptions of Islam and its followers. One rant like this netralises the PR efforts of many sensible muslims.
Claudia Pinto Sep 14, 2010 11:57am
Well said Alan couldn't agree with you more...
Abuzar K, UAE Sep 14, 2010 11:41am
no mr. kris..these (so-called pious) terrorists do not follow but misinterpret the book and use its messages out of context to propagate their own nefarious agendas..you are humbly requested to get a copy (with authentic/certified translation) of "the book" and review it without prejudice. i am pretty sure it will not eat or bite you (many ppl are scared of even holding it, dunno why) but will surely change your opinion on it.
RKN Sep 12, 2010 11:08pm
If a Sikh can be PM, why not a Muslim...? BTW, India's most popular president was a Muslim...in case you don't remember! But I repeat the same question Sanjeev has asked....any answers?
Logician Sep 14, 2010 06:07am
Muslims do not treat ay other religion well. BTW, you cannot build any other religions place of worship in Saudi Arabia. Malaysia regularly discriminates against non muslims. Non muslims are regularly lynched in pakistan (and it does not even become a big controversy). These lynchings may happen in India too but are a huge deal and no public supports it. Muslims are full of arrogance (which is completely undeserved). Most of they time they harp on some minuscule past glory. Iran does not even treat Muslims right, let alone any other religion. BTW, the computer and internet you are using is a product of the US...
Sunjoy Sep 13, 2010 10:08pm
Dear Arshad, the muslims are traditional and conservative and do not in modern education system. Most of them send their children to madarsa for education for free, while the hindus and rest of religion followers such as sikhs, christians, jains, parsees have always understood the value of modern education. Some muslims like Shah-rukh Khan, APJ Kalam, Azim Premji (richest indian at one time) who realise the importance of education are able to reach the skies, while most of the muslims who just want to dream about the past glory (mughal period) will remain poor. Stop complaining and see the reasons for the muslims backwardness, oterwise they would remain poor and backward forever.
Taha Sep 13, 2010 10:25pm
It's no one's fault! Just mistrust and lack of understanding and flexibility
Taha Sep 13, 2010 10:43pm
@me well if u are a pakistani u need to ask ur self in what light do people here see those like mahmud ghaznavi. . And u know as well as i do that our history has been so corrupted that such looters and plunderers who didn't respect temples and all became our heroes. Now it hurts us when smeone molests a mosque! I too am a pakistani and a muslim but i just don't want to justify the misdeeds that the muslims before me committed. Instead of expecting others to think positively about me i wish to be that positive change! I want to learn to be big and forgiving. . Cuz if someone has to let go it will proudly be i! And that's what i ve learnt frm the life of my Prophet!
Taha Sep 13, 2010 11:01pm
@shailesh i am sorry yar but that's not exactly the way to see things! I accept that muslims have been little relenting towards minorities but not as individuals and besides that has many other socio-political aspects related to it that have been always so. But the issue at hand is abt the alienation after 9/11. That was absolutely not due to the way saudia treated minorities. It had major flaws from some die hard fundamentalist muslims but then what society is utterly free of it? Not even the american society that i personally respect above all others! Plurality is a hard earned virtue. .
Taha Sep 13, 2010 11:06pm
@ adam that was very wise! :)
Sunjoy Sep 13, 2010 11:17pm
Is the media and government in Saudi and Malysia so open as in a secular or democratic country like India or any western country. The answer is NO. There are enough number of instances of non-muslims in these countries treated badly, but they do not get reported. Not gettting reported does not mean such incidents do not happen.
RKN Sep 14, 2010 12:14am
Don't drag USA into this! Right after 9/11 hardly there were any hate crimes against Muslims! For over 3000 people killed....and that too in such a violent manner....Muslims in America could've been in deep, deep trouble. Muslim today continue to live happily in America without any fear. The US society is extremely tolerant. All that US wants to do is to weed out extremists, which unfortunately is on the rise, globally.
satwa gunam Sep 13, 2010 04:19pm
But nobody has the back bone to criticize and fight to change the practices in their own country. So muslim cannot ask those rights from american if they donot want to give.
satwa gunam Sep 13, 2010 04:22pm
Sameer muslim in western countries have choice to move to one of the islamic brotherhood country rich to poor there are choices.
AB Sep 13, 2010 08:59pm
Khurshid Sahib, I salute you for speaking the sad truth.
Sunjoy Sep 13, 2010 09:48pm
You ask a very relevant question, but miss the point that they (muslims) are already doing it. Today the muslims are themselves killing most of the muslims in bomb blasts and suicide attacks in Pakistan almost every week.
Pradeep Sep 13, 2010 01:06pm
The problem is that the protests in America and Indonesia have been peaceful. It is the protests in Afghanistan and Pakistan where they do not allow freedom for others have the protests been violent. Go figure.
john dcosta Sep 12, 2010 04:41am
can any non muslim build a place of worship in islamic lands? can any non mulsim propogate his faith in islamic lands? then why do muslims demand these very privileges in non muslim lands when they deny them to nonmuslims in islamic lands? talk about hypocrisy .
Shakeel.Quddus Sep 12, 2010 03:16am
It does seem like we are at the same place. The bitter memories seem to be lingering on with new incidents such as the attempted plot to blow up the plane or a controversy over the building of the mosque at the same spot where the twin tower disasters took place. The very fact that there is an attempt to build a mosque shows that some Muslims feel confident enough to think of the unthinkable. The credit goes to the ferocious response the then administration displayed after the disaster. Had there not been a strong response by the Americans or the Al Queda being able to pull off few successful attacks with casualties, then there might not have been a chance even to discuss any possibility. We are not exactly where we are thanks to the efforts of the Americans. A ferociuos response from the Americans and then a willingness to make room to Muslims in the name of the secular values such as the Freedom to practice religion pretty much wrap up the deal.
ayesha khan Sep 12, 2010 10:33pm
India currently has a non-Hindu primeminister and has had 3 Muslim Presidents
Gus Sep 11, 2010 08:55pm
Muslims need to be seen tolerant by their action not by mere words. Historically muslims have imposed penalties on minorities (non -minorities). Many places muslims have seen to throw out minorities to become majority and then attempt to secede or join another muslim country. Then it becomes hypocrite of muslims to loudmouth if they face the same thing from other religions. VA, USA
sri Sep 12, 2010 09:56pm
it's kind of hypocritical to mention babri masjid. one mosque is destroyed and all hell breaks loose. what about the 28000 temples destoryed in south india alone? breaking down any religious structure is sacrilegious and should be condemned but those who are condemning it should not be from the side that have done thousand time more damage in the first place?
sandy Sep 11, 2010 09:18pm
I agree with Sanjay. Anti-semitism and homophobia are so prevelent and accepted Muslims do not even realize that they allow hate speech towards both groups that are as bad as what Pastor Jones was doing. When has Pakistan ever arrested anyone for insulting Jews or any other religion?
Truthseeker Sep 12, 2010 09:44pm
The difference is that in Pakistan the constitution does not allow a non-Muslim to hold this office,whereas in Western Nations all citizens have the right to contest for and hold any office.One day you may see a Muslim Prime Minister in India. But when will Pakistani constitution allow all of its citizens to hold any important office without the distinction of colour,creed and belief ?
Adil Shah Sep 11, 2010 10:34pm
Well said Sanjay. Look at Pakistan, it went from being 70% Muslim in 1947 to 99.5% Muslim now. Or Saudi Arabia, where non Muslims have no rights. There is no acceptence of anything non-Islamic country and they expect the world to turn a blind eye to all that.
saira rizvi Sep 13, 2010 10:43am
Sudha...most muslims in the west just want the same rights all other citizens wether they are hindu, jewish, sikh etc etc We want the same rights to demonstrate, practice our religion, pray(as long as it does not conflict with local laws) as any other religion. Yes..if the burhah is banned in france then women should obey the laws but when it is not I would champion there freedom to wear this just as a women has the right to wear a bikini if she wishes. Why should we in the west have less rights because rulers in Muslim countries dont provide the same rights to there minorties!? I did not ellect them...i dont supprt them...why should I suffer becasuse of them Two wrongs dont make a right Muslims in west and also east condem theses issues all the time...the media simply chooses not to put this codemnation in the press!
ram Sep 11, 2010 10:37pm
Tolerance is base of all faiths. Why Muslims only are faulted? Jesus and Buddha were sent to spread peace as society at that time lived in Law of Jungle. Prophet of Muslims preached peace & only peace....till circumstance warranted defense....as Holy geeta also says same. Partition of India & Pakistan made us to see animal passion of both sides,killing 10 milions. Hitler was christian but killed brutully around 6 millions....still no one blame all Germans. Arrogance of Ignorance leads to all this.
saira rizvi Sep 13, 2010 10:19am
Kris...read it.. read it and dont take sentences out of context as many people have done Maybe then you will realise that those muslims who commit terrorism are NOT true to the book...they twist, take out of context and distort it Thise muslims who understand and are true to there book will see there is NO room for terror or the killing of innocents
Shaan Sep 11, 2010 11:05pm
Enough talk about Islamphobia! how can you blame the nonmuslims about Islamphobia?? The world needs to see actions from the Muslims that they are seriously against terrorism, mere half hearted condemnations won't work anymore! If you people are serious and wants peace with the non-muslims then act now, you can clap with two hands, not one!
Gaurav Arya Sep 12, 2010 01:46am
I have never seen a muslim leader denounce 9/11 the way a non-muslim leader would. Yes, there is a huge amount of sympathy fro people who died, but no one has...without mincing words...denounced Al Qaida or Osama. I see so many talk shows which are full of conspiracy theories, wherein muslim leaders take the obnoxious middle ground, which has no place when talking about terror. In India, Zakir Naik says that he condemns the Mumbai attacks and 9/11 but he is not sure who carried out the attacks. To him it doesnt matter that Laden has claimed full responsibility. For him, its just a conspiracy of jews, hindus, CIA, RAW and everyone else. Also, like Sanjay says, tolerence is a 2 way street. We speak about the Ground Zero mosque and the opposition to it. The entire muslim world is up in arms about it. But will someone tell me why the Americans cannot build a Church in Saudi Arabia? Why cant the Hindus build a temple in Qatar? You cant expect to be welcomed in my home if you are not willing to welcome me in yours. Increasingly, muslims are being looked globally as people who take, but do not give.
rao Sep 11, 2010 11:31pm
Nicely demonstrated dilemma of an Islam phobic society that is creating anarchy & devastation in the Muslim world without any justification. I think "We as human must try not to live like animals..." is the way forward. Pakistani tennis player Aisam Qureshi with his Indian partner Rohan in the Tennis U.S. Open finals also truly inspired all of us by promoting a slogan,
MA Arshad Sep 11, 2010 11:33pm
What a useless comment. Are Muslims respected in India most notably Kashmir? Indian Muslims never miss an opportunity to pledge their allegiance to India but are still caught in a cycle of poverty, deprivation, and discrimination. Muslims, like in India, are a minority in the US and face less discrimination because US is a more tolerant country. Despite pleading about their loyalty, they are being turned into a marginalised community.
John Sep 11, 2010 11:35pm
Amen
Khurshid Sep 13, 2010 08:36am
@Human Muslims are facing problem not because of the West, but because of their own thinking and fake notion of Grandeur...I dont Find Hindus, Buddhists, Chinese, Sikhs, Jew etc having any problem with Integration. But where ever you have Muslims , you will find Issues and extremism, others live like responsible citizens and I could not understand why only Muslims have so many issues with countries which give them refuge, which are obviously giving and providing more than the countries they belonged.
Sudha Ghosh Sep 12, 2010 08:36pm
The ownership of world peace project should no longer be on the shoulder of non-Muslims. Let Muslims be given the responsibility of world peace. We non mulsims are tired of the hypocracy by majority of Muslims who demand all rights in non muslim countries, but never condemn the persecution of non Muslims in Muslim majority countries.
faraz ahmad Sep 12, 2010 01:35am
Yes, I could not agree more with Sanjay. Tolerance is a two way street. You canot just prentend by your words, slogans, history or traditions. Actions and deeds speak louder than Words.
apurva Sep 12, 2010 12:41am
I agree with Sanjay. In each Islamic country let tolerance begin with Muslim minorities which have been shafted by the establishment. For example harassment of Ahmeddiyas or Ismailis to stop in Pakistan, discrimination against the Central Asian origin muslims in Afghanistan should cease. Iran, Iraq, and Turkey should abandon cruelty and abuse of their Kurdish muslims. Charity begins at home, reform should begin from within, insh'allah!
fury Sep 12, 2010 12:55am
same goes for the hindus and other religons of the world
two_worlds Sep 12, 2010 12:53am
Mujtaba Sep 12, 2010 01:07am
Sanjay! I think the writer is talking about Muslim and relationship with CHristianity and Judaism...I wonder where "Hindus" comes in this discussion.... This discussion is about monoethist religions not myths like Hindusim...Just for your information...If a Jew believes in Jesus he is called Christian and If the Christian believes in Muhammad(PBUH) he is called Muslim. And if a Muslim does not believe in Jesus(PBUH) or any Prophet "He /She is not a Muslim". Your comments were uncalled for.
Shazia Sep 13, 2010 08:53am
Here we go again and we say why people are Islamophobic or they actually have doubts about integrity of Muslims :)
Nadia Sep 12, 2010 05:47pm
Muslims of America, Indonesia or Bangladesh are not responssible for the flawed ideology of Saudi Arab or any other Arab countries.
Pravin Sep 13, 2010 08:45am
Indian Analytical Engine, Very sane comment! It is important to respect other people and their ways of life. Two days back, when we were celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi at our relative's home, one of the prasad was shir khurma of Eid from their muslim neighbor. That's India! Proud of you! - Pravin
Khurshid Sep 13, 2010 08:27am
Cannot Agree More~
awais Sep 11, 2010 07:19pm
i think mr sanjay is exactly the kind of islamophobes kalsoom described
Adam Sep 12, 2010 07:28pm
Not sure if I can concur with your assessments. Since 911, the world has gained contempt of Islam, fear and hesitation to be around Muslims. On the plus side, there has been more contact, as violent as it may be, with the Islamic world since 911. The west has also stepped-up its efforts to bolster economies, fight for human rights, and nearly double up the medical aides packages. In return, west has withdrawn its cultural interest in the Islamic west. Judging by the dramatic reduction in the number of westerners now opting to visit the East, I say cultural reformation in of more interest to the west than any efforts spent in restoration. So, the east must now give the west a reason to once again open its doors to exchange visitor visas. Cultural exchange is a wholesome and useful idea. Both east and west must remember the chapters in their history between the 11th and 17th century. For nearly 600 years virtually a dead silent contact between the two worlds.
me Sep 12, 2010 07:53am
@ Sanjeev, the fact that majority of india's over 1 Billion population is below the poverty line. Btw, along with having the lowest poverty rate, Kashmir also has one of the highest unemployment rates due to religious discrimination and persecution. As far as religious tolerance is concerned in the India, what was Babri masjid all about? what happened to religious tolerance there?
Assad Sep 11, 2010 06:55pm
Discrimination against minorities is not a problem specific to Muslims. Its a global phenomena and Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jews and very many other religious denominations have discriminated against others. This problem will not go away for as long as there are dead bodies coming back to the US and Europe from places such as Iraq and Afghanistan and for as long as occupied people are dying in their own lands. This situation is exacerbating the hate and for as long as these wars remain hot, the discrimination against Muslims will continue. The only hope here is that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end so at least we can at least lower the animosity between Muslims and others.
amit Sep 12, 2010 07:04pm
By constitution, a muslim can become a PM in India but the same is not true for islamic countries. Islamic counties have more non-islamic phobia than other countries have islamophonia.
kss Sep 12, 2010 06:52pm
India had TWO outstanding muslim PRESIDENTS
PS Sep 12, 2010 06:44pm
Thats factually wrong. 1/5th of Pakistan is under water. Thats a fact ! Stop the conspiracy theories ! Babri masjid is one incidence in the history of India. What happens in Lahore and Karachi everyday ....the world is aware of that.
Bejaan Sep 12, 2010 06:29pm
Agreed
satwa gunam Sep 12, 2010 06:25pm
India had two time muslims elected as president
Alan Sep 12, 2010 06:15pm
My dear friend Mujtaba, obviously you have never met an observant jewish person or a church going orthodox christian. They will never, repeat never, accept what you are so frivolously writing. Judeo-Christian hyphenation is as far as it ever goes and that too by Christians. Even most Jewish people will never never accept what you are saying. I have lived in many countries which have all three religions represented in large measure. We keep saying we are from the same "Book". Please wake up and smell the coffee. Have you ever travelled anywhere outside of home country? Do so and check for yourself.
Sanjay Sep 11, 2010 05:47pm
Tolerance is a two way street. Once Muslims begin to respect other religions and stop discriminating aganist minorities the problem will go away.
Sameer Sep 11, 2010 06:01pm
Second thing is that Muslim in American are being discriminated by other not because of treatment of minorities in Western-friendly Muslim countries, but because of hostility toward Islam.
Alam (India) Sep 12, 2010 02:12pm
:) Just read the constitution of India, Western countries and compare it to pakistan or other oil rich Islamic countries you will get your answer. Bigotry is everywhere BUT institutionalized Bigotry is found only in Islamic countries, and as per your Muslim being a PM; let me tell you we have had many Muslim presidents and at present a Sikh is a PM and Leader of Ruling Party is a Christian. How many Hindu, Ahmedi, Sikh, Christian presidents or PM's Pakistan has given? No doubt our constitution does not differentiate between religions and anyone can become what he desires, unlike Islamic states. No doubt these days in the west has started asking questions when Muslims in the west ask for more and more extra-territorial rights in the name of religion such as Sharia !
Cautious Sep 11, 2010 06:17pm
The Pew Poll indicates that most American's don't view Islam much different than any other religion - but you can't seem to read Muslim article without reading the word Islamophobia. Disagree with a Muslim your called an Islamophobe. Disagree with a Jew and your called anti Semitic, disagree with an African American and your called a racist. Labeling is the first line of defense for defensive people who really have no interest in debating an legitimate issue.
amit Sep 12, 2010 05:42pm
Me, who in kashmir discriminates whom? can u tell a bit more?
Nadia Sep 12, 2010 05:42pm
Why would an American muslim be responsible for the actions of Pakistan? Do you think all muslims are from Pakistan?
arun Sep 12, 2010 05:40pm
well ..amuslim can become the prime minister ,,and he did become the president of india.. can a non muslim become president of pakistan.. indian constitution provides equality for all..does the same happen with u ones tooo
XYZ Sep 13, 2010 07:26am
@ Shailesh With respect, your line "u people want respect but i think u dont deserve it" gives the mental status of yours For your querry, YES! Muslims treat verry well the non-muslim minorities in Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, Can you give me single example of a church/Mandir burnt in Malasiya or a single false case made over a hindu/Christian in Saudi Arabia? I think no need to give an infinite list of such events in India and USA...
human Sep 11, 2010 12:51pm
You cannot deny that there are certain aspects of Islam which are at the root of all the intolerance and hatred towards non-muslims. There is a need to openly discuss these aspects by the well-meaning muslims rather than trying to white-wash them or sweep them under the carpet. The only solution is a candid admission of this intolerance, and a firm resolve to purge it from Islamic theology. The Islamophobia that the article refers to is only a reacation to this.
Agha Ata (USA) Sep 11, 2010 12:35pm
Hindus and Sikhs and Buddhists and many other religions have learned to co-exist with other religions.
XYZ Sep 13, 2010 07:13am
Well said Human, I am also waiting for a reply from Mr Sanjeev on this...
halakoo Sep 12, 2010 04:57pm
Wake up every one most of the head of states in muslim countires are non believers....If true muslims ever ruled these countries situation culd have been much better.....Just name one leader who is following islam....roots of all problems in muslim countries are not muslims....munafiqeens are the real problems....if not sure about it then read surah-Al-Munafiqun
Human Sep 13, 2010 05:39am
Shailesh bravo! I will suggest you to look at the mirror first, you may understand why muslims are seeing problems.
XYZ Sep 13, 2010 07:08am
They are all telling Muslim president in India (which is nothing more than a ceremonies attending body) why dont they talk about PM, I wonder...
XYZ Sep 13, 2010 06:55am
@ me Well said, I am also waiting for a reply from Mr Sanjeev on this Babri Mosque issue @ Sanjeev At the time of partition, it was 30% Muslims Governament employees in the Indian territory, why only less than 3% now?
sanjeev Sep 13, 2010 06:41am
@ me do you understand what is institutional discrimination ? any religion's person is free to contest elections atleast in all european countries and india .. but islamic countries declare them ineligible ...malaysia is example with only 58 percent muslims have excluded others(42 percent) as ineligible
Anoop Sep 13, 2010 06:12am
@me, Yes they can. A Sikh is a PM in India now, they form only about 3 to 5% of the population. There is a greater chance of a Muslim becoming PM in India, thus, who form 15% of the population. Also, Indian constitution unlike Pakistani one, says anyone can become a PM irrespective of their Religion. Not so in Pakistan.
Khurshid Sep 13, 2010 06:07am
@me Why are you so confused? Whole world does not work on the lines of religion, and promoting their own creed, India is such an example where a Sikh is a PM and many Muslims have become Presidents, plus a Christian lady is the most powerful person as leader of the ruling party, grow up from your fasle state of victim-hood and self-petty.
AB Sep 13, 2010 06:03am
Those in Pakistan and Bangladesh (used to be one country from 1947 to 1971) are the ones from before Independence. Try building any one these in today's Pakistan. I am not sure about Bangladesh, (You may not be aware, but Christians, Parsis, and even Jews came to ancient (pre-Islamic) India in peace and have lived that way.
AJ Sep 12, 2010 03:39pm
Have you heard of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. He was the president of India and I do not need to mention here what religion he was.
James Sep 12, 2010 03:54pm
Ram, Hitler was Christian however you forgot to mention that the countries that banded togeather to bring him down were also Christian Countries. Can Muslims Countries around the world do the same? The world has little faith that they would.
Analytical Engine Sep 12, 2010 04:02pm
@sanjeev Dear Sanjeev,not every comment reflects the true image mainstream Muslims have of other people from other religions.NO need of taking everything to heart.For me,there are both good as well as bad points in Hinduism.Muslim scholars who have studied Hinduism(I'm not talking about Zakir Naik) have said that in many aspects,Hinduism is closer to Islam than both Christianity and Judaism.They have given Hindus status of 'Ahle Kitaab-People of the BOOK'.I respect Hindus a lot and remain silent over religious differences,because not everyone can have same view on the same topic-for example,on the topic of Monotheism.See ya! Regards, Indian Analytical Engine.
Human Sep 13, 2010 05:30am
Sanjeev, I have a lot of respect for my Indian friends but if you look at the recent history of your extremists in India it may remind you that how many churches and mosques have been burnt also on some occasions priests along with his family including 3 and 5 years kids were burnt alive. I don't remember any such incident where minorities have been burnt alive and churches and temples have been burnt in Pakistan.
Human Sep 13, 2010 05:14am
John dcosta, I am in Iran these days, a country that is widely known for practising extreme Islam. There are many churches, jews, Hindus, zoroastrians and sikhs temples along with sizable community of chirstians and jews. All I can understand is the perception in west about Islam or muslim countries is totally wrong and it may be due to media.
Eeman Sep 11, 2010 09:43am
I don't think the world changed after 9/11. There is no substantial influence of 9/11 aftermaths on Africa, neither on Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Philippine, Japan etc . South America is also same as it was before 9/11. Countries residing Australia have also seen nothing specifically influenced by the aftereffects of 9/11. Nothing changed in whole Europe apart from few countries. The only world changed is in Pakistan, Afghanistan and their surrounding countries with few exceptions of some terrorist activities in other countries.
Neel Sep 12, 2010 01:16pm
Any thoughts about the recent mob lynching of a Christian guy who was murdered while in police custody for 'Blasphemy'? Apparently he distributed pamphlets with blasphemy contents with his signature (name) written on it!! Media reports suggest that it was done by 'others' to occupy his property. Get data from Police/NGOs how many people have been arrested under these dreaded 'blasphemy laws' in Pakistan. Here is disturbing fact: None of these people has been 'tried' in courts, ALL of them were murdered even before reaching to courts!! West: In most of the serious cases of hate crime, 'West' has successfully arrested and tried these culprits. Don't amuse yourself that west does not care about muslims (or minorties). Give me examples of un-solves murder of minorities in US or UK?
gunjan Sep 13, 2010 04:29am
It is very-very easy to point fingers on others and not introspect. It is a fact that Pakistan had 22% minorities when it gained independence and percentage has steadily come down to 2%. On the other hand, the mix in India has remained almost constant. You may argue that minorities have embraced Islam in Pakistan because it is the best religion in the world but the fact lies somewhere distant. Problems, who doesn't have? India has its own set of problems because of diversity but Pakistan has almost eliminated all the diversity it inherited! Some of the Indians come here on this website because Pakistan has become very-very important to us. On one hand it is a killer disease and on the other hand it is the only cure we can seek! Please try to understand and find the remedy for all of us who share the land below Himalayas, and excuse us. Let us live in peace and you too seek peace.
Punter Sep 13, 2010 04:29am
Why is the Non Muslim World Islamophobic? Can it be the fault of the Muslims? No, how can that be, Muslims belong to the "Superior race" in this world and cannot do anything wrong, as most of them like to say..
shailesh Sep 11, 2010 09:06am
to tell u the truth i actually fear muslims. i did before 9/11 and i do after 9/11. why? you have to ask urself . how islamic countries treat their minorities, how they show the violent reaction even for a slightest of insult to their religion . i can go on and on telling u such examples. but whats the point? is america present in iran, pakistan or Malaysia or saudi arabia ?? do these countries treat well to fellow non-muslims? u people want respect but i think u dont deserve it. instead of criticizing or crying foul for the treatment of muslims in west , look into the mirror. u will see a very ugly reality.
Kishore das Sep 12, 2010 01:08pm
The Babri masjid was built on a Sri Rama temple by Babar.This is what happened.You are right,what happened to the religious tolerance.And do you want me to provide thousand of such examples of 'religious tolerance'?
Punter Sep 13, 2010 04:25am
They elected a Muslim President..
kris Sep 13, 2010 02:59am
Most Muslims who talk of moderation, tolerance are not true to their book. They are enlightened moderates. Real pious Muslims are the terrorists bcz they follow the book literally.
sanjeev Sep 12, 2010 12:23pm
@me Are u for real? Indian PM is Sikh Indian leader of the ruling party is Christian Last Indian president was a Muslim and still you say
Neeraj Sep 13, 2010 03:26am
Guys, Tell me why minorities are shrinking in almost all the muslim countries. Why Muslims are increasing in non muslim countries? Tell me why a non muslim can not build a church, synagogue or a temple in saudi arabia? Why countries like Maldives or Malaysia define citizenship on the basis of religion? Why can not i enter Saudi Arabia with a picture of my God? We need to find answer to these questions. Why Muslims burn flags of USA, UK but protest vehemently when some dare to burn Holy Quran? These are inconvenient questions but we need to find answer. India is not a perfect country but still its better than many Muslim countries.
rajput Sep 12, 2010 12:15pm
wow mujtaba u r so tolerant of views which u dont agree with !!! ever heard of jiziya dude ?? if u havent read u r scriptures u probably wudnt knw . ask u r elders in ur family . And dude have some respect for the Hindu civilzation ...... its u r ancestral faith after all . U r ancestors were peaceful ppl who beleived in 'myths' of hinduism before they were converted to 'the religion of peace'.
kris Sep 13, 2010 02:54am
Agrree
whatif Sep 13, 2010 02:02am
not a muslim but a sikh is a head state while a muslim is the president and while richest , most sought after bollywood acrtors are muslims. i think on tolerence its best not comapre the two countries.
hope Sep 12, 2010 02:12pm
I would like to see the day when a new temple or church is built in Pakistan
kaal Sep 12, 2010 01:52pm
muslims in India are given equal rights unlike pakistan where hindu and christian polulation went down from 40% to 2 %, that explains all....
rajput Sep 12, 2010 12:07pm
Do some soul searching before u comment.
chinu Sep 13, 2010 12:57am
The muslim majority needs to speak up against terrorism and not justify it. Muslims and Christians need to stop behaving like theirs is the only right religion and anything else is blasphemy. Religion needs to brought out of the mosques and churches, back into the homes and individual hearts. Religion should not be your first and only identity. I think then only religion will stop being a divisive force.
smn Sep 13, 2010 12:29am
All religions have radicals. Islam by far have more radicals than the rest. In most cases, Islamic radicals were tolerated even encouraged (eg. Pakistan). Islamic community needs to recognize this problem and address it. Look within. Don't just blame somebody else.
rajput Sep 12, 2010 11:58am
Plzz speak logically . Answer my question Can a Muslim convert to Non Islamic faith (Christianity , buddhism , Hinduism etc .) in islamic countries ? What does the law say in pakistan ?? plzz give an honest answer
Atif Sep 12, 2010 12:03pm
@Sanjeev Please don't mind Mujtab and others, this is exactly the problem with Pakistan and other Muslims! this superiority complex and fake grandeur of being pious and Islam being only true faith is the main cause of problem, Hinduism and other Dharmic Faiths are way too old and ancient than any of the Abrahimical faiths and way too liberal. sanjeev you will not understand how a monotheistic faith following people such as muslims are taught about their faIths, its hard for anyone to correct them.
gayatri devi Sep 12, 2010 12:02pm
agree in toto
XYZ Sep 13, 2010 07:15am
Well said, I am also waiting for a reply from Sandy on this...
me Sep 12, 2010 07:47am
@Sanjeev Can a muslim become a head of state in any european or other wise western country? btw, I would like to see the day when India elects a muslim prime minister.
me Sep 12, 2010 08:08am
Verbal insults or hatred is one thing. But to go as far as to burn religious books, beat up muslims for being muslims, urinating in mosques (which are private property) and just out right insulting of muslims by western media by branding them as evil is out right disgusting. The sad part is non of the above insistences that I mentioned above were arrested for. So before you ask why doesn't Pakistan arrest anti semites and religiously intolerent people, you need to ask yourself why doesn't the west arrest those that have been violating muslim's civil rights for the last 10 years. May be then you will understand why there is so much anti semitism and growing resentment towards the west in general in the muslim world.
sanjeev Sep 12, 2010 06:40am
@ mujtab this is one example of tolerance... thats why other faiths behave the way for which you complain
sanjeev Sep 12, 2010 06:36am
@ M. A Arshad oh really kashmir have lowest poverty ratios among indian states . how will you explain that ?
sanjeev Sep 12, 2010 06:33am
@ ben levi can a nonmuslim become head of state in all these countries you mentioned ? answer yes or no ...if no why ?
Ben Levi (USA) Sep 12, 2010 06:13am
Interesting. Same bigoted comments here. dcosta or whatever your real name is: there are churches, hindu temples, sikh temples, and so on in Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh. The largest of three Muslim countries. There are christian missionaries in these countries preaching their bible. Not sure where are you getting your "facts" from.